Updated By: Dominique Bohler on Fri, Mar 23, 2018
The goal while executing media relations is to, "communicate a client’s newsworthy message, story or information using the appropriate media outlets." These types of media can be anything from radio and television to online blogs and newspapers. At Leighton Interactive, our media relations and public relations services tend to focus and place the most importance on the latter (we are a digital marketing agency after all).
When working with a media outlet, it's essential to know who you are talking to and why. Are you hoping to work with the senior editor of a local newspaper? Maybe you're hoping to get featured by one of the big dogs and are looking to work with one of their freelancers or contributors? Regardless of who you want to add to your media contact list, here are five steps you should use when executing media relations - trust me - your boss expects you know (and practice) them well.
1. Be Present
How do you measure up to other public relations professionals when it comes to digital presence and credibility? Do journalists and online contributors go to you for a resource or are you constantly trying to get their attention? It's hard to get noticed if you aren't making an effort to stand out from the crowd. A good place to start is by utilizing the most common form of online communication: social media.
Using Social Media
Consider creating a professional Twitter account or utilizing your personal LinkedIn account to share content, ideas, and other resources that resonate with your expertise. Odds are that others who work in your industry will stumble upon your tweets or status updates and determine whether they trust you as a credible thought-leader. You should also take advantage of these platforms to monitor industry hashtags and news, and interact in groups and forums.
Last but not least ... Are you blogging? Whether it's personal or professional; increasing your digital footprint by sharing your public relations tips, thoughts, and recommendations on a blog is a good way to go. Consider blogging a few times each month to increase your digital presence and stay current on industry trends.
2. Be Personable
I know this might seem obvious, but journalists and media contributors are people too! If you are only looking out for yourself or company, you're going to run into problems. Get personable and start caring about your media contacts by following these three steps:
Research any media contact just like you would a job applicant or new business prospect. Who are they? What do they care about? How often do they communicate online? Who do they respect/follow? These are all questions that will help you begin building a relationship with your media contact.
Read, like, comment, and share your media contact's content. This will help you get to know them on a more personal level and show your interest in who they are in order to get to know them better.
Steps one and two will help you move the needle when it comes to building rapport with a media contact. But it's just as important to track and always know where your relationship stands with a media contact.
3. Be Genuine
No one wants to work with someone who is selfish, dishonest, or a pain-in-the-a** to get a hold of. So, get to know your media contacts, start a genuine conversation, and be ready to follow-up with them! If they aren't a good fit for your company or client news, it's okay move on. To be honest, they will probably appreciate one less email that doesn't align with their media outlet or beat. There's no need to be rude about it, but if they ask it's okay, to be honest.
4. Be Helpful
After completing step two, don't be afraid to turn your "monitoring" into consistent research. Each week, or day depending on capacity, take some time to research and reach out to the media contacts you have to build a connection with. Do they have a big deadline to finish this week? Are they working on a new technology piece within your local community? Knowing these things gives you an advantage because you will be able to provide a helping hand (or quote, statistic, case study, etc.) to your connection in a time of need. Be more than a public relations professional - be a resource.
Send & Share Content
Also, don't be afraid to send a story to your connection if you feel it would resonate with their expertise or be of interest to their role. If the piece aligns with their interests, it will show your contact that you genuinely care about your relationship with them and you want to help keep them in the loop on industry happenings.
It's not a surprise that journalists, editors, reporters, and media contributors want to see their work make an impact on readers. So, show their stories some social media love every now and then by sharing it with your network. Not only are you increasing your digital presence (look at you being a go-getter and repeating step one), but you are also helping your media contact get their content out to the digital world.
5. Be Aware
Always, always, be aware of what is happening within your industry and the world of journalism. Whether this means spending an hour each morning sipping on your coffee and monitoring breaking news and stories, or taking a break every couple of hours to scan Twitter for stories from your media contacts. Being aware and in-the-know is going to help you in more ways than just one.
You probably already know this, but technology is rapidly changing the way that public relations professionals execute media relations. Keep tabs on new tools and pieces of technology that could enhance or make your media relations efforts easier to execute. Some popular tools (that are near and dear to my heart) used in media relations efforts include Help A Reporter Out and Cision.
What is Help A Reporter Out (HARO)?
It's a site where journalists and other media professionals can submit queries they need to be answered for a new piece they are writing that PR professionals can respond to. These queries are segmented into categories that anyone can subscribe to, receive daily, and respond to when appropriate. If the query owner likes the response, they can follow-up with an interview or publish the content submitted. It's a win-win for everyone involved... and did I mention it's free?
What is Cision?
Cision is a software for media professionals that offers many tools and services. One of my favorite features within Cision is the ability to research any media contact with the subject they write about, their media outlet, or keywords in their profile. This helps speed up the process of finding media contacts that align with your company or client's industry and/or press release angle. Not to mention you get additional insights submitted by the media contact like the best time to contact them, how to contact them, and "tips for public relations professionals" they recommend.
There are many, many tools available for media relations efforts - but these are just a couple that we use for public relations management at Leighton Interactive. If you're interested in trying something new for your media relations strategy or need some assistance, click the CTA below, and we can have a conversation!
About The AuthorDominique Bohler
I have a passion for communicating, coffee, and creating meaningful relationships. Each and everyday I make it my mission to chase one of my many curiosities and tackle it head on (usually with a dirty chai latte in hand).